The following document will provide guidance regarding importing and exporting goods on behalf of Trent University and will assist in navigating the compliancy of cross boarder shipments.
Glossary of Terms
Customs – An international shipping term which refers to the duties, fees or taxes levied on goods transported from one country to another. These costs vary depending on the item and country and are over and above the cost to ship goods.
Shipper – In the context of international trade, shipper is used to identify the company selling the goods to a foreign market. The shipper may also be called the exporter, vendor or consignor.
Purchaser – In the context of international trade, purchaser is used to identify the company receiving the goods. The Purchaser may also be called importer of record or consignee.
Import – Shipment of goods into a country, opposite of export.
Export – Shipment of goods out of a country, opposite of import.
Importer of Record - the person or organization who causes the goods to be brought into Canada.
Commercial invoice – an export document that helps your package get through customs. Is used by government to determine the true value of goods when assessing customs duties.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) – A federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for boarder control, immigration enforcement and customs services in Canada.
Customs Broker - Acts as an intermediary between the transportation provider, the CBSA and the University.
FOB Shipping Term – Free on Board is a transportation term that indicates that the price for goods includes delivery at the seller’s expense to a specified point and no further. "FOB destination" is the recommended shipping term to be used and means the seller retains the risk of loss until the goods reach the buyer.
General Shipment Information and Direction
Warranty and Non-Warranty Repair of Equipment to be Shipped Outside of Canada
The initiator of the repair request will requisition Purchasing advising the make, model and serial number of equipment and the specifics of the repair for equipment being repaired outside of Canada that will be returning to Trent University. The Purchasing Department will provide our Customs Broker with a pre-alert notice including copy of purchase order (PO) and export documentation to prove that the item is a return repair and not a new purchase. The value of the repair is used when calculating duty and applicable taxes. There is no duty or tax paid on warranty repairs, but Customs requires a value of the repair for its records. Warranty replacements are not assessed duty or HST.
The initiator of the perishable shipment will contact Purchasing Services to pre-alert our customs broker of pending shipment to avoid clearance delays and to ensure documentation is in place to support the clearance. When shipping perishable items, consider packaging that will maintain a 72-hour transit and it is not recommended to ship later than Wednesday to avoid delays if goods held over the weekend.
Personal goods cannot be cleared by the University as are not considered University business and the customs responsibility rests with the purchaser who arranged goods to be delivered to Canada. Personal shipments are NOT to be addressed and delivered in care of the University as this creates challenges regarding the true nature of importer of record and creates liability to the University.
VISA Card Purchases
When using a Trent VISA PCard to procure goods, provide vendor the following for their shipping documentation. “Trent University” name must be in the address to flag broker.
- Your name and contact number
- Trent University name, shipping address, building and room number.
- Provide your cost center as a reference number
- Advise vendor our customs broker is Thompson Ahern
- Vendor to indicate if goods are perishable on packaging
- Hazardous goods cannot be ordered on a PCard and must be done via a Purchase Order.
Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
Most goods and services, supplied to residents of Ontario, are subject to the 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). HST consists of an 8% provincial component and a 5% federal component. Universities are eligible to claim various rebates of tax paid irrespective of being imported or purchased domestically. The HST payable on goods imported into Canada is applied in a different fashion than goods purchased within Canada. The CBSA collects the Federal component of the HST (5%) at the time of import. The University has the legal obligation to self-assess the applicable provincial component of the HST (8%) once the goods have been received.
Purchases from Canadian companies which are shipped directly to Trent from foreign locations are referred to as drop-shipments. The Canadian company is the correct import of record in such situations and is responsible for the customs formalities.
Trent University’s contracted courier provider is UPS for domestic and international shipments.
Thompson Ahern is the University’s Customs Broker for Canadian import customs transactions and Tahoco Logistics Inc. (a Division of Thompson Ahern) is the custom broker for export custom transactions. Brokerage fees are applicable on cross boarder shipments and the department responsible for shipment will provide an appropriate cost center to cover the fees associated with shipment.
Shipping Address Trent University
Trent University, Shipping and Receiving Center
2089 East Bank Drive
Peterborough, ON K9L 1Z8
Phone 705-748-1011 x7433
For shipments coming into Canada that will be to the attention of Trent University, consider the following:
Importer of Record
- The Importer of Record is legally liable for the accuracy of information submitted to customs. The University would be considered the Importer of Record where goods:
- have been purchased through an approved procurement method such as a purchase order or the University’s corporate VISA card.
- Goods being provided free of charge to the University by the shipper. Such examples could be research samples or specimens provided by other institutes or individuals for research purposes or vendor product samples to evaluate for future procurement.
- Goods being returned after warranty repair or replacement at no charge to Trent.
- Goods returned after having been temporary exported, where they have not been altered in condition or value.
- Goods are being temporarily loaned to the University without charge.
All shipments imported into Canada require a commercial invoice, to be prepared by the shipper of the goods, when coordinating a shipment to the University. Commercial invoice requirements as follows:
- Reference the University name, a Purchase Order number or a contact name and department
- indicate Thompson Ahern as the University’s customs broker
- identify Vendor’s full name and address.
- Research sample shipments with “no value” must indicate a minimum market value of $1.00 CAD on the commercial invoice for customs clearance purposes
- Imported research samples must be indicated on the commercial invoice as “Samples are for scientific research or teaching, not for commercial resale or use”
- Country of origin where the goods were manufactured to be indicated
- Verify whether the goods are controlled, regulated, or prohibited by the CBSA or any other government department or agency as may require permits/license. Refer to Other Government Agencies section herein for further detail.
- The vendor must clearly label exterior packages and documentation if goods are perishable, hazardous or require special handling needs. All supporting documentation (permits, licenses, etc.) must be securely attached to the outside of the shipment and accessible for removal for shipping and customs clearance reference.
- Biological specimens must identify the source of the material (human, rabbit, rat, etc.) and detailed information associated with goods including any hazards.
- Shipment documentation must identify itemized quantity, unit of measure, unit price and extended total value (the tax and duties are based on the price payable for the goods).
- For acquisition of hazardous materials, refer to Acquisition of Hazardous Materials in the Sciences
Purchasing services has a commercial invoice template available to assist the shipper or individual in preparing documentation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for template and assistance with import.
Every good entering Canada may be subject to duty and tax. The rate of duty is determined by the tariff classification of the good and the applicable trade agreement which is based on the country of origin of the good.
- Research samples or donated material and goods are exempt and qualify under the rules of origin of a Free Trade Agreement in respect to end use provisions are only applied where a purchase order is issued and the requisitioner has certified their end use of the goods to be teaching or research.
- Duties may also be overridden where the goods are being given (donated) to the University. In this case, taxes are also reduced to zero. To qualify for the donation provisions, the vendor or shipper of the goods is required to produce a statement to the effect that the goods are given freely, at no charge, to the University. These no charge provisions are not affected by the fact that Trent is paying for the transport costs.
When shipments are going outside of Canada, there are several laws and regulations which control the export of goods and services to other countries. Some of these controls are specific to the type of good or service, the country where the goods were manufactured or the country where the goods are being shipped. The Export Control List is quite extensive.
The initiator of the export will be required to verify if the goods being exported are controlled, regulated or prohibited to be exported by the CBSA prior to shipment and determine if your goods require an export declaration and/or a permit/certificate/license. The Science Facilities Manager or Purchasing team can assist with reviewing your specific situation to determine what will be needed.
Once the export is ready for shipment, Shipping and Receiving Centre (SRC) will prepare the waybill and commercial invoice documentation for the goods being shipped outside of Canada. USMCA certificate of origin for outbound shipments to US or Mexico over $2,500.00 shipment value are required. SRC will assist in preparing the detail and have USMCA certificate templates in place.
Other Government Agencies
In addition to CBSA, there are other government departments or agencies that manage legislation and associated regulations regarding provisions to deal with the import and export of various goods and services. The requirements of Other Government Agencies must be met prior to the release of goods by Canada Customs. Failure to ensure the appropriate permits and licenses are secured in advance of the movement of the goods may result in rejection, forfeiture and destruction of a shipment. Fines in some cases can be substantial for failing to obtain the necessary permissions.
The following is a list of common government agencies and is not all inclusive. Refer to the web links indicated for further information or contact the Science Facilities Manager for assistance.
- Import of animals, animal products and by-products
- Veterinary biologics and biohazardous materials
- Animal feeds
- Plants, plants with novel traits, plant products, seeds, grains and fertilizers
Human and most terrestrial animal pathogens. This is a combined set of controls for Public Health and CFIA.
See Occupational Health and Safety regarding the importation of any radioactive substance or device
See also Exports & Imports Permits Act
A variety of import and export controls on agriculture, firearms, wood products, military and strategic goods and technologies, steel, textiles and clothing and goods of United States origin.
Domestics and Import controls on a variety of substances and drugs. It is the responsibility of the Canadian importer or exporter to ensure the necessary permissions have been received prior to initiating shipment.
For inquiries regarding international procurements, shipping, customs clearance and procedures, please email email@example.com. Navigating international shipping can be complicated and lead to timely clearance delays if not done correctly. Purchasing would be pleased to provide support to our clients.